1492 is an important year everyone knows about. 1492 (60 Clinton St.) is a restaurant everyone needs to know about. It is worth noting that in a street that has served as the gentrification poster child for both community activists and food snobs on both sides of the debate, comes yet another restaurant with a symbolically charged name such as 1492. In any case, this chill and spacious Spanish restaurant is nestled in Loisaida (or for some, what remains of it), and is great for dinner parties and dates.
The main room is minimalist in its décor – peach-colored walls topped off with exposed brick and wooden beams on the ceiling. Tables and chairs, made of solid dark wood, are both simple and comfortable. A garden in the back has similar furniture, a hard-wood floor and nice plants and trees that provide shade. The main room is darkly lit by candles and music ranging from bossa nova to Spanish pop, Ska and Cuban son plays all evening long. While the main room has the potential of inspiring a romantic, it gets rather noisy with the escalating conversations and bouts of laughter that arise from the artsy multi-culti crowd.
The food at 1492 is very good and it is recommended that you share everything, even the main courses, with friends. You can count on many tapa standards – the gambas al ajillo had the right amount of garlic and herbs, the chipirones a la plancha (grilled baby squid) were tender and had a wonderfully smoky, straight of the grill taste. Dátiles con bacon, a favorite tapa of mine, was good, but the tastes would have gelled better with with plumper dates or thinner slices of bacon. While the croquetas de setas (mushroom croquettes) where well made – a nice crispy outer coating filled with a smooth mixture – they did not taste much like the porcini mushrooms they were supposed to be made out from.
As a main course, definitely try the paella de arroz negro, with shellfish, peppers, peas, artichokes and squid-ink tinted rice. It’s a rich and smooth paella that will be enjoyed by any seafood lover. 1492’s wine list is extensive and the friendly and attentive wait staff will be happy to help you pair it out with the food.
A warning though — si te dejas llevar por el gustito, and you eat a lot, be prepared to pay. Who would be surprised to roll out the dough when going to a restaurant on Clinton St? Surely you won’t be thinking you’re entering the bodega of yore. Main courses range in the mid- $20 range, tapas between $8 – $15 and desserts at $8. Este sitio no es para todoss los dias, pero vale la pena darse el antojo de vez en cuando and leave politics for another day.
1492 is located at 60 Clinton St between Rivington and Stanton Sts.
For more information go to http://www.1492food.com.